Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Say No to Atrocity Porn

It has been over a week since James Foley was brutally murdered yet you don't need to go far to find a photo of him, clad in orange, in the last few moments of his life. A full and courageous life that ended in the most horrible way imaginable. His murderer, because that is what he is, has even been given a nickname, Jihadi John. It sounds like Postman Pat or Fireman Sam, all soft and fluffy. And don't editors just love alliteration?

Why not just call him what he is; a brutal, morally bankrupt murderer who has now been afforded the 'celebrity' status he failed to achieve as a South London rapper, if the most recent newspaper reports are to be believed. Meanwhile, James Foley is reduced to 'beheaded journalist'  because he is no longer a person but a story, a commodity, as editors and journalists elbow each other out of the way to find another way to string out his tragic death.  Was it staged? Where did it happen? Who cares? I don't. But I care deeply about the death of this man. I care deeply about the emotive language that is used to describe an act of murder. I will not look at the photos. I do not want to see the last moments of anyone's life yet editors and journalists the world over have actually watched the video of his murder,  all in the name of journalism, you understand. That is not journalism, it is voyeurism. How does it make them any better than the sick individuals who actually watched the video before it was taken down? So much for supporting one of your own. And all the while we become more and more inured to scenes of death.

Facebook, Twitter and all social media in between is awash with photos of dead Gazan babies, people with their faces shot away, the aftermath of a suicide bomb. It is Atrocity Porn - and it seems to be addictive. It is all to further whatever particular cause the image relates to, apparently. Maybe so, most likely not. All I can say is I do not want to see it. Every image is of a person, not a casualty, not a body, a person who moments before was living and breathing, who had a family who loved them. These images are out there for anyone to see including those family members.

The British broadcast media thinks nothing of showing graphic photos of death -  with a little rider that some people might find them disturbing or upsetting of course. Damn right I do! So here's an idea. Don't show them. Don't show them on the lunchtime news while children may be watching. Don't even show them on the evening news. Have some respect. Don't show them at all. Is it any wonder that Hollywood now seems to produce films that are woefully short on story but very long on increasingly graphic and creative ways to torture, maim and kill? We see so much real horror on the small screen that they need to really up the ante to grab your attention. What a sad reflection on society.

So I say to editors and journalists everywhere. If this was your father, mother, son, daughter, brother or sister would you show these obscene photos of their death? No you would not. So why is it acceptable to show it when it is someone else's family? Why do we need to see these photos? We should all just say no to Atrocity Porn and it starts with you.

Read the original article in  The Huffington Post

Tuesday, June 10, 2014


The nice people at My Trendy Phone have, once again, very kindly asked me if I wanted to review one of their products. I'm no techie but it's always good to see what is on the market and try out something I might not otherwise be aware of.

I decided that the Naztech N3050 FM Transmitter and Car Holder which also doubles up as a car charger might well be a useful addition to my car as I am one of those people who is constantly losing their phone under the seat or running down their battery just before I need to make an important call (not whilst driving of course!)

My reviews are always totally honest as otherwise there would be no point doing them.

It is a robust piece of kit that you plug into the lighter socket in your car - I'm sure it is no longer called that but you know what I mean.  There is an adjustable holder for your phone and it functions as an FM transmitter, car charger and speakerphone, enabling you to talk handsfree.  It has a decent sized gooseneck that you can move around in order to find the best possible position in your car and is infinitely bendable. Now there's a good technical term! It is compatible with the iPhone 4 and 5 as well as most other smartphones. A great little smartphone cable is included that is just long enough to run from the USB socket to your phone but if you want to use it with an iPhone you will need to buy a dedicated one.  The downside of that is that you get a bit of a tangle of cables around the gearstick so unless you know where to buy a very short iPhone cable I would say this is probably more suited to smartphones.  That said, I do use it to charge my Kindle in the car now and it is perfect for that as it reaches to the passenger seat.

I liked the fact that it was solid and felt very durable but I did struggle to find a good position where it was out of the way of the gear stick. In fairness though, my car has six forward gears so it would, I think, be less problematic in a normal five speed car.  You can play your CDs through the Naztech N3050 by tuning your radio to white noise and then setting the same frequency on the LCD display. It took a while to find the best frequency to use but once I did it worked well.

The big downside I found though was that with your phone that close to the radio there was, inevitably, interference. The only way round this is setting your phone to Airplane mode. The downside of this though is that you can't receive any calls so if this is one of your main reasons for buying it, you might want to bear that in mind.

I struggled a bit with the speakerphone as in almost every incoming call the caller couldn't hear me very clearly although I could hear them well. This was probably made worse by the fact that my lighter socket is very low down so I found I had to keep leaning down a bit to be heard.

All in all, I felt that the quality was good. It was very easy to assemble and the instructions were good.  There were a few little glitches but they were as much to do with the positioning of my lighter socket than any design inadequacies. I would certainly recommend it as an FM transmitted and a car charger, maybe less so for the handsfree capability. Before purchasing any piece of kit like this it is probably worth considering the layout of your car as this will impact on its functionality. That said, it has worked well overall and now, after several months of use, I have had no problems with it.